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Sandburg Students Soar with SOAR

Summer school offers variety of programs.

Classrooms at Carl Sandburg Middle School this summer are filled and the hallways buzzing with students involved in various elements of academia.

Sandburg was selected this summer as a community-based summer school site. The concept was tried last year at elementary schools and this year it was expanded to a few middle schools.

Wendy Eaton, assistant principal at Carl Sandburg, said, “About 20 percent of Sandburg's student population attends summer school for remediation, re-enforcement and enrichment. We are able to offer enrichment classes because of the community-based site being held at Sandburg. If our students did not attend Sandburg, they would have gone to Whitman with several other middle schools.”

Eaton said that the advantages to having a community-based site are familiarity and continuity. They use Sandburg's teachers, provide a smaller program, have the student's records readily available, and already have established relationships with parents.

“The primary focus of our summer school program is to work with students to ensure the mastery of promotional benchmarks or what FCPS considers to be minimum competencies necessary for promotion. Not all students in summer school have failed but just need a little additional time to master the promotional benchmarks. Basically it becomes a continuation of their education with no gaps from getting to know the child and where they are at academically.”

TWO OTHER PROGRAMS that were held concurrently with the summer school programs finished recently. George Mason University held an enrichment program for rising eighth graders. This four-week program covered Math the first two weeks and English the second two weeks.

Several rising seventh graders were given the opportunity to participate in the S.O.A.R. (Sandburg Outstanding Academic Recruits) program. This two-week program was taught by Maria Robertson and Bonnie Pender, and covered Science and Math with a small English component.

“It was fun; we had a good time,” Robertson said.

“We look for students who have potential for honors programs, but are not currently in them,” Eaton said. “It encourages more kids to utilize their potential.”

For their final presentations, the students in the S.O.A.R. program created PowerPoint presentations about the class and their visit to the Challenger Center in Alexandria.

“I really enjoyed it because I met a lot of new people,” said Josiah Jackson. “I would have missed out on a lot of great activities [if I didn’t take it].”

Archie Odenyo’s favorite movie from the class was ‘Apollo 13,’ and said, “I’ve had a good time; it also helped me get used to the school.”

Jose Corado said, “At the Challenger Center, they tested us by having us do different things in the spacecraft. I learned about space, acids, chromatography and other things.”

Lizbeth Alvaredo reported that, “The Mission to Mars was awesome because I got to start the spacecraft making the space probe.”

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